The Miscarriage: Ebba’s Woe Is in Us All. {Poetry}


This poem began as a short story about a 16-year-old Swedish girl named Ebba set in 1934.

I was struck by her story seemingly out of nowhere, as if transcending through time she was speaking to me. Ebba means strong, carried by saints. She spoke of becoming pregnant at the hands of her grandfather, of her little siblings, and of the harsh winter.

Hiemal solstice is the longest night of the year, and in some regions, a period of continuous twilight. I have dear hope Ebba’s night is among this divine calendar event so she may be celebrated for eternity. This cold night especially came to mind, the image of her wandering through the woods searching for a place to bleed. There is something strikingly universal about being a young girl bleeding between the legs.

It is humbling to think of all of the women before us who have felt a similar panic while looking down at their underwear. Oddly in the first draft of this tale, her blood had two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. That idea was scrapped among other details in her semi-psychosis of loss. The short story evolved into what you read below. Ebba’s woe is within us all. Wherever she is and whenever she lived, I heard her call.

The Miscarriage

We are all children at the beginning,

Snowflakes burned her nose as they flew past, biting fae. 

Ebba looked into the white ground, gleaming back at her like a dish of salt,

the only reflection she saw being her sorrow.

Her eyelashes heavy with frozen tears, her waist ached, and her hair lay braided into a halo upon her head. 

Her breasts became weighed down with guilt.

A girl may feel her spine snap, leeches in her belly,

and find pomegranate seeds falling out of her. 

Ebba mopped the floor barefoot as her grandfather spit seeds into a metal vase. 

Not once did she notice the naked man in the doorway until the day she plummeted onto the wet floor.

Now berries dripped down her legs leaving a sort of finger stick map. 

Flat like a snow angel the stars above her spoke small rhymes. 

The puddle beneath her shimmered in the snow. 

Folded snow and pine decorated the top of her lost womb. 

Twigs in her hair and dirt beneath her fingernails, 

She returned home, and the girl inside vanished.


Belen Odile (she/her) is a poetess, artist, and advocate. Odile is known for her somber nostalgic voice.


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